We are more than three years down the line and things are getting (I hope you’ll agree) better and better. RadioAlba is reaching out to an ever-widening audience with ever-improving programmes.
You haven’t tuned in yet? Let me extend a welcome and open the door on radioalba.org , our Christian internet-based radio station that first took to cyber space in November 2013. It is sponsored by the Music Committee of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, by Glasgow Churches Together and by ACTS (Action of Churches Together in Scotland).
The rationale behind radioalba.org is to promote prayer and to publicise the good works done by so many organisations and people, particularly among the churches. It aims at building bridges, increasing solidarity, and at being a sign of encouragement.
I’d like to give you a flavour of the schedule. We start with The Morning Half-hour when we provide a Morning Prayer at 8.00am every day and a Schools Morning Prayer at 8.15. These are followed by Canon Bob Hill’s short commentaries on the readings for the following Sunday, and by a little service for the sick or for peace.
The material for these prayers is provided by the St Mungo Singers, by generous friends and associates of http://radioalba.org/ and by local Glasgow schools – with a generous input also coming from the Western Isles, from East Renfrewshire and from East Kilbride. During Lent and Easter we have a series of reflections from contributors including Dr Laurence Whitley of Glasgow Cathedral, Fr David Wallace , Chair of Glasgow Churches Together, and at Christmas and Easter the Glasgow Church leaders give a reflection or blessing for the city and its people.
Too busy to listen? We’re on a loop and this 30 minute slot is repeated on the hour and the half-hour until noon when we have a news item from the Scottish Catholic Observer, followed by a little service for people who are bereaved – and this is repeated at 6.00 p.m.
In the afternoon, you can listen to music from the archives.
We also repeat the Evening Hour. From 20.00 to 21.00 we have a 20 minute Evening Prayer, and then a magazine programme for about 30 minutes, followed by Night Prayer at 20.50. You can hear this again at 21.00 and at 22.00.
The Magazine is vitally important to us since it gives us the opportunity to draw attention to the good work being done by so many people and organisations. So much of the news that fills the media is ’bad news’, so it is encouraging for us all to hear of the many good deeds and works of solidarity and support that are going on.
Our information comes from Glasgow Churches Together, the Scottish Catholic Observer, Life and Work, SCIAF, Open House, Flourish, Mary’s Meals, Vocation Justice, Justice and Peace Scotland, the Comboni Mission magazine, the Focolari, The Little Sisters of the Poor, The Light of the North (the quarterly magazine produced by the Diocese of Aberdeen), Africa magazine, Medicines Sans Frontieres, the Sailor’s Society and many others. We are also exploring the use of material from Vatican Radio.
One might be forgiven for mentioning that much of the dynamism and care for others that is often characteristic of communities of faith is often overlooked in the media – I was once informed at a media information gathering that ‘religion is all right for entertainment and scandal!’ I think that it is fair to assume that such an attitude is not entirely to be attributed to ill will, and that our own lack of self-esteem and inability to harness the tools of communication are at least partly responsible.
The results of the Brexit referendum and the recent American Presidential election may well indicate that what the media sees and presents as reality ‘ain’t necessarily so’ and our own faith community eyes could be opened a lot wider to see the good things being done in our own churches and in others and to find cause for encouragement and hopefulness. There are many awful things going on in the world, which should be and often are reported but there are also signs of goodness and concern and generosity in matters of social justice. These are less acknowledged – but are there just the same.